Facing your fears can turn them into the source of your greatest success! Let us show you how! It’s easier than you think!
"Where you stumble, there lies your treasure. The very cave you are afraid to enter turns out to be the source of what you are looking for. The damned thing in the cave, that was so dreaded, has become the center." – Joseph Campbell
That’s one of my all-time favorite quotes from one of my most revered authors. Joseph Campbell was one of the most well-known mythologists of our time. He had a transcendent ability to take ancient myths and transpose them onto the struggles, hardships, and dreams of modern times.
What’s so moving about that quote is that it speaks to a very deep part of human psychology: that we all fear the monster in the cave, under the bed, or in the closet. As children, we make up elaborate tales of strange creatures living in our house, but as adults, we face the realization that the monsters or demons are just intrinsic aspects of our own psyche.
The thing we are so afraid of is often not outside of us or separate from us; it IS us.
I think the things we are most afraid of are wrapped around our ego or our self-created identity. Those monsters we fear have other names: failure, disappointment, not-enoughness, shame, sadness, and loneliness. The unknown can be absolutely frightening if you don’t know yourself, trust yourself, or have faith in your abilities to handle whatever comes your way.
There can be great power in naming your fears and clearly identifying what they are. And through that process of clarity, you can choose the right tools and methodologies to deal with those fears.
If you’re afraid of making a big life change, like choosing a different way of eating, the fear may be linked to being misunderstood or being shamed for being different. This kind of fear is linked to a need for acceptance. Long ago, when humans were living in tribal societies, if you were perceived as a threat to the status quo of the tribe, you were cast out. And being cast out meant having to find food, build shelter, and survive on your own in the wilderness. Or in other words, your probability of death went WAY up. Therefore, at the root, sometimes fear of making big life changes is actually fear of losing the acceptance of your peer group. Even deeper than that – you fear the death of your current identity.
Through naming that fear, you can start to ask yourself quality questions like, “Does it matter if people fully understand or accept my life choices?” Perhaps it’s more important for you to take action based on your deepest nudgings, urges, and intuition, regardless of people’s reactions. You can take this opportunity to take the fear you feel and turn it into a positive, courageous way to express your radical, authentic individuality.
I don’t believe that attempting to be fearless is a worthwhile goal in life – nor do I think it’s truly achievable. What I think is worth exploring is how best to exercise our abilities to vulnerably acknowledge our deepest fear, understand them and use them as fuel to motivate radical, positive action in our lives. Courage isn’t the absence of fear; rather, it is deeply knowing your fear, making something more important and taking bold action in spite of its presence.
Remember – the darkest, scariest cave that you fear is the place that holds your most glorious treasure. So, strap on your hard hat, grab a lunch, and get ready to dive in!